Ian Austin, the MP for Dudley North, has quit the Labour Party and said that he is “ashamed” of the party. Austin has represented the constituency since 2005 and won by a majority of just 22 votes in 2017.
“I grew up listening to my dad, who was a refugee from the Holocaust, teaching me about the evils of hatred and prejudice. One of the main reasons I joined the Labour Party as a teenager here in Dudley more than 35 years ago was to fight racism and I could never have believed I would be leaving the Labour party because of racism too.”
Tom Watson, the party’s deputy leader, said that the news was “a serious blow” to the Labour Party. Austin said that he didn’t intend to join the new Independent Group of 11 MPs, who had left the Conservative and Labour parties, due to a difference of opinion on Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has been criticised for anti-semitism after he called for a mural to be kept which was anti-semitic. The mural, entitled ‘Freedom of Humanity’, was removed from East London in 2012.
At the time Corbyn had posted on Facebook referring to its removal:
“Why? You are in good company. Rockerfeller [sic] destroyed Diego Viera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin”.
Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, had earlier said on Twitter:
“I asked the Leader’s Office for an explanation about this Facebook post first thing this morning. I’m still waiting for a response”.
After being asked about his comments Corbyn said:
“I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic”.
Berger responded by saying that Corbyn’s response had been “wholly inadequate”.
Ian Austin, the Labour MP for Dudley North, also criticised his leader, saying:
“Jeremy would never have defended racist imagery aimed at any other group”.
Ken Livingstone, the former Labour London Mayor, has been criticised for making comments about Jimmy Savile when speaking to LBC Radio. His comments came just weeks after controversial comments Livingstone made about Hilary Benn, Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn.
Referring to Dan Jarvis’s speech yesterday Livingstone said:
“The other thing to say about Dan Jarvis. If you’re really Labour, what are you doing taking thousands of pounds from hedge-fund managers? Hedge-fund managers have been the most rapacious and damaging form of capitalists that we’ve had. It’s absolutely bizarre. It’s a bit like Jimmy Savile funding a children’s group”.
Michael Dugher, the Labour MP for Barnsley East, said:
“Ken Livingstone is not fit to lace Dan Jarvis’s boots”.
Jamie Reed, the Labour MP for Copeland, also criticised the former London Mayor, saying:
“No regard for the victims, no regard for the pain and anger he will have caused, and no care for the damage he continues to do to Labour. It’s another embarrassment. I look forward to his shame-faced apology for his latest sickening outburst”.
Ian Austin, the Labour MP for Dudley North said on Twitter:
“Disgusting. Just disgusting. No other word for it. Ken Livingstone’s comments are disgusting, disgusting, disgusting, disgusting”.
Ken Livingstone has yet to apologise for his comments.
The Conservative Party have confirmed that Afzal Amin has resigned as the party’s candidate for the Dudley North constituency.
Senior figures in the party distanced themselves from Amin after it was alleged that he worked with the English Defence League to announce a meeting which he could take the credit for when cancelled.
Amin admitted that he did have meetings with the English Defence League but said that his actions were “normal conflict resolution, confidence building measures”. The Dudley North constituency for a target for the Conservatives with Ian Austin currently having a 649 majority for the Labour Party.